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You may think it’s a waste of time, but I can tell you from experience that setting goals is a necessity for success!

When you were a kid and your coach was trying to teach you how to hit a baseball what was the first thing he or she told you?

Keep your eye on the ball!

In other words, your goal was to hit the ball and your coach taught you to keep your eye on your goal to increase your chances of success.

If you are not experienced with setting goals here are 10 tips to help you get started:

1. Write your goals down and make them visible. It may sound simple but it can be very powerful. Research shows that goals are more likely to be accomplished if they are in writing. Writing your goals down gives you a sense of ownership and helps cement them into your brain. If writing is too linear for you, try drawing your goals or creating a mind map for a more creative approach.

2. Make your goals compelling.
It’s important that your goals are meaningful to you. Consider what it is that you really want in life and what are you’re motivated to work towards? It’s also important to make sure that your goals are what you want and not what others want for you.

3. Write your goals in positive terms.
In other words, you should state what you want – not what you don’t want. For example, “I don’t want to be fat anymore” is saying what you don’t want, but, “I want to weigh 120 pounds” is telling your brain what you do want.

4. Make sure your goals have a specific outcome and a specific action plan to achieve that outcome.
Use these questions to help you create a very specific goal:

  • What will my outcome be and how will I achieve it?
  • Where and when will this happen?
  • Who else will be involved?
  • Why is this important to me?

Ex: I will walk at the track, for 30 minutes, 3 times a week with my kids and dog right after work to lower my cholesterol.

To create an action plan it’s important to focus on your Next Action Steps. Ask yourself what physically needs to be done to accomplish your goal? Do you need to make a phone call, do some research, find something or run an errand? Thinking about the next action step helps to break your plan into small manageable pieces.

5. Consider your values and what’s important to you when you’re setting goals.
Say you were to set the goal that you wanted to get a promotion at work, which you know will require you to work longer hours. If one of your values is keeping family time sacred; this may present a conflict that you should think about before setting that goal.

6. Your goals also need to be realistic for your current situation.
If your goal at age 45 is to be a concert pianist and you’ve had little or no piano training, that probably won’t be very realistic considering your current age and the fact that you’ve had no formal training. You need to set goals that are challenging yet, attainable for you.

7. Give your goals a deadline.
Creating a deadline gives you a sense of motivation and urgency. If you set a goal like, “I want to get my PhD”; specifying a time in which to accomplish this will give you something to work towards.

8. Make sure your goals are flexible.
One of the main reasons that people don’t set goals is they believe goals have to be rigid. But, people and situations change. That’s why goals should be continually reviewed & reassessed. The goals that you set today may or may not be relevant to your life next year. So, make sure your goals are flexible enough to change with your circumstances.

9. You should have support for your goals.
Enlist the aid of a friend, a colleague, or coach to be accountable to and to cheer you on when things get rough.

10. Your goals should be prioritized.
Most people today tend to have a lot of things they want to accomplish and they all appear to be equally important. Unfortunately, you can’t do everything at once, so you have to put first things first by prioritizing your goals.